A TEENAGER has taken up his place at Oxford University after beating cancer for a second time.

Zac Giles, originally from Southampton, was diagnosed with a rare life-threatening and life-limiting genetic condition called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when he was only nine years old.

With the help of the blood cancer charity, DKMS, and a blood stem cell transplant from a stranger he has been given a second chance of life and he starting his course at the top university this year.

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After his diagnosis, Zac’s best shot at life was being given a blood stem cell transplant from someone genetically similar to him but unfortunately no one in his family was a match.

Only one in three patients will find a matching donor within their family, which means two in three have to rely on a stranger registering with a charity like DKMS.

Zac, now 18, registered with the charity a few years back and received his first stem cell transplant in 2017, however due to complications he had to look for a donor again three years later.

After two transplants and having missed most of his Year 5, Year 8, and Year 11, Zac didn’t give up on his academic interests.

His fascination with politics developed watching the EU referendum and following the 2017 and 2019 elections in hospital.

It eventually nudged him to apply for Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford.

Over the summer, DKMS organised a trip for Zac to the Houses of Parliament and he also had the opportunity to take a tour and attend debates and Select Committee meetings.

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The teen said he is very grateful to have a second chance for life all thanks to a stranger who donated their blood stem cells.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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